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Pakistani designers hold first-ever virtual fashion show during pandemic

SAMAA | - Posted: Jun 6, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Jun 6, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Pakistani designers hold first-ever virtual fashion show during pandemic

Pakistan’s first-ever virtual fashion show “Catwalk Cares,” the brainchild of Catwalk Event’s CEO Frieha Altaf, had its premiere Friday night.

The three-night affair is being released on Catwalk’s digital platforms as well as their partner Geo Entertainment’s YouTube channel and played on the TV channel in the evening.

The industry’s top models walked in designer wear from the safety of their homes, keeping in mind social distancing, as Pakistan continues to grapple with COVID-19.

The fashion show was earlier postponed in respect for the victims in the PIA PK-8303 crash, including model Zara Abid.

Day one’s line-up included designs from Khaadi, Maheen Kareem, Amir Adnan, Huma Adnan, Nida Azwer and Shamaeel Ansari. Days two and three are expected to feature collections from Generation, Nomi Ansari, Sania Maskatiya, Elan, and Hussain Rehar.

The show was followed by praise from participating designers and models, who said it was a tribute to the healthcare workers, police and others working on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus. Amir Adnan said “designers care about them [frontliners], Catwalk cares about them and fashion cares about them”.

Show director Frieha Altaf thanked all the designers, models and frontliners and as a preview to the collections again reiterated that the show was dedicated to the frontliners and hoped that the Eid garments given as gestures of gratitude “put a smile on their faces.”

Altaf shared some statistics about the 364 COVID-19 affected health workers in Sindh, seven of whom lost their lives as well as five police officers who had passed away.


Day One kicked off with retail game-changer Khaadi whose collection  ‘Bohemia’ described by Khaadi CEO Shamoon Sultan as all about “expressing one’s individuality in a fun way”.

His collection was modelled by Robina Khan. The collection was set against a brightly-hued ethnic backdrop. The four-piece capsule included vibrant fuchsia cobalt, citrine and tangerine ethnic prints transposed onto short belted bell-sleeved tunics and layered tasseled coats offset with traditional carry-on bags.

The collection was vibrant and ebullient, akin to a ray of hope in these dark times. Both designer and model thanked the front-liners for their brave services and vowed to continue to support them.

Maheen Karim

Before proceeding with the showcase called Parizad, designer Maheen Karim showed behind-the-scenes communications between herself and her chosen model Rahhima Ali which was interesting and showed the art of coordination via social media.

Parizad’ was supposed to have been showcased at the cancelled Hum Showcase but Maheen believed Catwalk Cares was the perfect platform to showcase the capsule instead.

Maheen had collaborated with Image Fabrics and transposed their materials into classic Maheen Karim silhouettes creating a collection  made by strong independent women two from Image Fabrics and third was Maheen Karim.”

Parizad was all about empowered women and the all-white five dresses which included swirly one-shoulder lace evening gowns; three-layered bolero tops worn with jodhpur pants and a gorgeous sari/stole narrates the same story.

The dresses were complemented with traditional ethnic jewellery, including teekas . To reiterate the fact the show was a CSR activity both designer and model again gave shout-outs to the frontliners, including  “doctors, nurses and policemen and women”.

Amir Adnan

The next designer, Amir Adnan, showcased four looks from his Summer Festive Eid collection. His model was rising star Subhan Awan. The designer choose a simple palette of lilac and deep purple juxtaposed with black and white.

The slim long and short shalwar kameez were coordinated elegantly with plain and printed waistcoats and buttoned prince coats.

The model completed his look with Nabila’s No Make Up pallete.

Huma Adnan

Huma Adnan chose supermodel Abeer Rizvi to showcase her tribal-influenced collection.

The five-look ‘Kuchi’ collection was inspired by Kandahar Afghanistan and included long flowing white kuchi skirts worn with short embroidered tops and kuchi kaftan dresses in cerise, black, and pink florals organically hand-printed by Afghan refugees whom Huma closely works with and was also paying tribute to.

The festive fusion and easily translatable resort wear collection was accessorized with signature Huma Adnan handmade jewellery made by the same Afghan women.

Keeping in line with the dire times we are living in, Huma also showcased matching reusable and washable masks which are also available for sale. She called the frontliners “our true heroes and patriots”.

Shamaeel Ansari

The ever eloquent and pioneering couturier Shamaeel Ansari said she was delighted to be part of Catwalk Cares and was happy that Catwalk was “taking the first lead and that she went out to the frontliners”

The opulent three-piece capsule collection, The Light of Darkness, was elegantly modelled by Fahmeen Ansari in a myriad of well-lit and close-up shots and included black and silver backless short bell-sleeved tunics worn with slim cropped cigarettes pants; scarlet one-shoulder frilly tunics worn with coordinated protective masks and luxurious gold and black high-collared opera coat with slit kimono sleeves replete with leather gloves that exuded high voltage drama and glamour.

Nida Azwer

The sixth and last designer of Day One Nida Azwer called the virtual show “the new way forward to accepting and adapting to the new normal and Catwalk Cares as a way to keep us entertained in these trying times”.

To showcase her luxury formal collected Azwer also chose Fahmeen Ansari as her model for the show.

The four-piece ‘Anemone’ capsule included timeless pieces carefully hand-embroidered using the finest quality fabrics enhanced with delicate crystal and traditional intricate resham and  zardozi embroidery. The season-less separates that included kalidars and jackets which can be paired in multiple ways in soft hues of pink, gold silver and ivory.

Day One ended with a heartwarming photo montage tribute to model Zara Abid (1992-2020) and “all the precious lives lost on the tragic PIA PK-8303 crash” against a lilting soundtrack of iconic Pakistani band Strings 2018 hit   Urr Jaoon.

The montage included glowing tributes by friends and colleagues who had worked with the late supermodel including designers Sana Safinaz, Khadijah Shah of Élan and Nomi Ansari and models and actresses Mushk Kaleem, Abeer Rizvi and Saba Qamar who had narrated the debut short film ‘Sikka’  in which Zara acted in a double role. 

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